The 4 Caballeros (Part 2)
1962 The San Francisco Examiner PICTORIAL LIVING. When three of the four artists returned to San Francisco, their sketches inspired paintings. The San Francisco Examiner’s headline “How Six Bay Eyes Saw Mexico” did not include the fourth artist, Willi Baum. Because at that time, Willi was back in Mexico, in San Miguel, where he was designing a mural there. So Willi was not shown in the photo with the Examiner’s story.
Sept/Oct 1962 Communicating Arts Magazine
Here also, are six pages showing the art and it includes the written comments from the artists. (The sketch that you see at the bottom of each page was a fifteen-foot long, 360-degree drawing that Earl Thollander made as he viewed the complete row of buildings surrounding the open square where the artists were sketching.
On November 7, 1962, there was an exhibition of sketches and paintings that were a result of the trip. It was held at the Art Unlimited Gallery in San Francisco. The gallery was accessed from the ground floor and then a strait staircase down to a basement. Willi had recently returned from San Miguel, but on the night of the gallery show, he appeared in a wheelchair at the top of the long flight of stairs. The crowd showed concern about Willi’s condition and worried how he planned to get to the lower level. Then, following his plan in “making an entrance” he stood up from the wheelchair and casually descended the stairs !
Not long after that occasion, Bill established a studio in New York. As a member of the Society of Illustrators, there, he received and awarded award of merit with his painting developed from one of his sketches from the trip in Mexico (the last of the images that you see above). The four amigos, together Other sketch trips followed. Each of the four produced more and more paintings, beyond their commercial work.
Bill Shields – Friend And Artist
I first met Bill when he appeared in San Francisco in 1960 and came to my studio on the recommendation of a teacher, Marty Garrity, who taught cartooning at the Chicago Academy of Fine Art in Chicago. Bill studied there during the years 1945 to 1946 and I was there from 1948 to 1950. Marty kept tabs on most of his students and I’m sure he helped many to get together later when an opportunity came up. Bill’s arrival in San Francisco was smashing ! He had no problem in captivating his clientele with his stunning design and artwork. His illustrations were appearing everywhere and his swift execution kept him busy. He was up to the demand and never disappointed !
I was living in Mill Valley and Bill soon moved his family there. He and I, for a time, commuted into the city in his Porsche. We brought our families together on camping trips where we sketched. Bill brought his talents into play designing and finishing his home to his standards. We often sketched together in the city and managed many weekends traveling with other artists, sketching and painting in the Gold country and along the northern California coast. For two weeks in 1962 our artist friends, Earl Thollander and Will Baum, joined us on a trip to Mexico where we visited the west coast town of Guaymas and then we traveled southeast to an old cobblestone town named Alamos. This is where we spent most of our time sketching and enjoying the great differences from our lives in the Bay Area. On our way back north we visited the Joshua Tree National Park. Willi set his camera’s timer and staged this photo. Here are three quick sketches that I made of Bill.
After our return, we prepared a gallery show in San Francisco of paintings developed from some of our work accomplished there in Mexico. During our stay in Mexico I renewed my aversion to the American Cockroach, which were plentiful there. My fellow artists decided to capture one and put it in an envelope and tucked it under my pillow. The scratching sound alerted me to their joke. Bill addressed some of his many envelopes, without roaches, that I received though the years as “Dickaroacha”. Many years later in Hawaii, I overcame the aversion, and lived with many such creatures.
I was always amazed that Bill’s embellished envelopes actually made it to my mailbox. His collection had a few of mine, like this last one that you see above.
In late 1962 (after the gallery show) Bill moved and worked in New York for quite a few years and in 1975 he returned to San Francisco where he established his Artists Inn studio where he painted. He also taught at various academies in the city and Bay Area. Lucky students ! My return from Hawaii to San Francisco in 1982 gave us a chance to catch up and enjoy each other’s company and families, once again. Many lunches and partying happened through the years and an occasional sketch trip was always a joy.
“The Thousand Recipe Chinese Cookbook” (by Gloria Bley Miller). Artist : Earl Thollander Known for the many books that he wrote and illustrated while drawing on location, Earl Thollander created a most masterful collection of a specific culinary technique. The collection was first printed in 1966. It had a hard cover and 926 pages of recipes – instructions and illustrations. Earl created the 400 illustrations – he described his method as “sitting at great number of locations, right on the sidewalk in the bustle of San Francisco’s Chinese communities”. There were also illustrations of areas in China and a complete study of the cooking tools and products – so much a part of described cuisine. The book was reprinted through the 1960s, ’70s,’80s and ’90s with each with a different cover. The white cover seems the most compatible with the enclosed artwork. Even the softcover version in 1984 weighed over three pounds.
Earl Thollander Illustrations
“Sunset Recipe Annual, 1995 Edition” Artists : David Broad and Alice Harth. This, a 256 page, hardcover book, includes an abundance of (289) beautiful photographs and the artistic touches of David Broad and Alice Harth. The book offers no printed credits to artists and photographers. Names were printed tight to the photographs and David placed his name in his art and Alice signed with her initials.
David Broad, who’s other art styles have been featured in a past Geezer Gallery posting, was the artist bringing his unique humorous style to this annual collection of recipes. Here, below, are examples of just some of his15 illustrations in the book. Alice Harth, had a long association with Sunset Publishing Corporation. Alice presented 51 illustrations of the foods next to the written recipes. These illustrations required her to create a display of the food and she had to devise the setting for each, with appropriate decorative objects appropriate to the preparation and prepared foods. These renderings did not reflect her normal artistic style, but were realistic to aid in showing the 51 recipes – an alternative to the already extensive amount of photographs in the publication.
(Two examples of Alice’s recognized individual style are shown here, also.)
David Broad Illustrations
Alice Harth Illustrations
Sunset’s “Gifts from Your Kitchen”, first printed in 1988. Artist : Dick Cole. Dick Cole was known for his fine art and commercial watercolor paintings. I was surprised to see that there were some of his illustrations in this Sunset book. Besides the decorative illustrations, Dick had the ability to show cooking procedures. Drawings that show precise methods – -“hands-on” visual instructions are often a necessary part of a recipe and not an example of style so much as the need to show a clear depiction of a procedure.
Dick Cole Illustrations
A Raisin Recipe Booklet
Above also is a quite unusual booklet of recipes created by the agency, J. Walter Thompson Company. They had the California Raisin Advisory Board as a client. I am guessing that was in the early 1970s.
Here, above, are some pages of the simple (12 page plus cover) collection of recipes. The intro tells “The history of the little raisin”. The main expense for this simple booklet had to be purchase of the tiny velum envelopes and plastic magnifiers, the printing of the tiny label reading : “RAISIN” and the handling, stapling it all to the inside cover of the folder. The five illustrations in the booklet were very simple line art. There is no reference about the artist and I do not know the JWT art director on this project.
A Letter, With The “Rest Of The Story”
We had a previous story about Alvin Duskin who stepped away from creating women’s wear and into San Francisco politics. I seem to remember from those days, that if he had not made such a fuss about the height of the planned Transamerica Pyramid, the building would have been taller than it is now. (Also more streamlined, without the “ears” that stood out when the shorter design revealed the top of the elevator shafts.) William Pereira’s plans for the Transamerica Pyramid were changed. If the Pyramid were its original planned height – all four sides would be smooth and flat.
A 50-year update : (DEC. 29, 2017, A few lines from the NY Times, by David Streitfeld).
The protests had an effect. The Transamerica Pyramid was shaved down from 1,040 feet to 853 feet. A proposition in 1971 to limit buildings to six stories did not pass, but it was one of those defeats that is also a bit of a victory. The Transamerica Pyramid remained the tallest in the city until this year.
John Hyatt wrote to me to introduce himself and he added more to the story of that time.
Thank you for responding to my email about Sam Coombs. I find the “Geezer” site to be overwhelmingly nostalgic. Also, your advertising art collections and knowledge about what went on in San Francisco in the 50s, 60s and 70s, is extraordinary. If I am reading things correctly, you seem to have been in an office at one time in Belli’s building, just across from Wilton, Coombs and Colnett on Hotaling Place. I worked at WCC as an art director fresh out of Art Center School for seven years, 1968 — 1975. Lowell Herrero did a few illustrations for me that were wonderful… typical Lowell. I didn’t realize that he had an office so close to mine, perhaps he had move by the time I arrived at WCC.
Reading some of the recollections on the Geezer site, that I assume you wrote, I ran across the mention of Alvin Duskin. You may find a little story something of interest to add to your history of San Francisco. Duskin was a client of WCC when I first started working there, but quite unexpectedly, he quit his dress making business for what we were all told was his desire to enter politics. The company was bought by a fellow named Paul Maris. I did several ads for Vogue and Women’s Wear Daily for Maris — attached is my comp and a proof of one of my favorites for Hubba Hubba (just what you need, more clutter for your collections, sorry). As this story goes, headlines in the Examiner and Chronicle one morning exposed Paul Maris as a fictitious person whose real name was Gerald Zelmanowitz, an informant for the Federal government in a case against some New York mobsters. Duskin’s company was purchased as a witness protection guise to protect Maris/Zelmanowitz and his entire family. With Maris’ identity exposed, the entire company disappeared in the blink of an eye — a WCC’s account person went to the Maris factory, south of Market, to discover virtually everyone gone… doors unlocked, lights burning, phones ringing.
The attached ad was done by photographer, John Peden. The Hubba Hubba double knit dresses looked so awful when worn by the models that we just had the girls hold the dress up as though they were looking in a mirror.
The bright colors and graphic shape made a splash against the model, reduce to gray tone (some custom four color masking done by Walker Engraving). The dresses sold like crazy. John Peden’s wife, Barbara, ran into Maris months later at a restaurant out in the Avenues one afternoon. Barbara had been working with the Maris company as a designer. A fleeting hello was the last we ever heard of Paul/Gerald.
Working Toward a Career
If you know of students in high school, who are wondering which path to take, tell them that there are many choices that can lead to their final destination.
An Art Student’s Portfolio (Early 60’s) In today’s art scene, my portfolio would be laughed at. The art tools changed through the years and now I know the beauty of the digital advantages. There is today, no need for that huge black portfolio – just a small thumb-drive would do the job. But the generosity of time that was given to students in the past seems to have disappeared. Resumes are required and pre-interview selections are made before personal meetings. It is not now, as friendly as it was.
FAMOUS ARTISTS SCHOOL My first art samples for my portfolio came from what I had learned from the “Famous Artists Schools” correspondence art course that I started while in my senior year of high school.
My family’s move from Santa Rosa to Westlake, Daly City, before my last year in high schooI, left me with no connections with my previous five years of classes or friends. I created “my art studio” in our family’s garage and I put all my spare time and efforts in drawing and completing the FA lessons, which were mailed to Westport, Connecticut. The lessons emphasized illustration. These corrections to my endeavors, shown below, were an obvious “eye-opener” for my growth toward commercial art. The “Simple Simon” lesson gave me a lot of notes to follow when I later re-drew to subject in line only. In the “circus” assignment, I was taught that a painting is not an illustration.
PACIFIC TELEPHONE When I graduated from high school, at age 17, I was still mailing my FA lessons but I was far from able to find employment as an artist. My mother suggested that I pay rent – “Rent?” “But I live here!”
Soon, with a personal connection from my aunt from her WWII long-distance operator job – I found a job at 3rd & Channel (San Francisco’s longest building) where Pacific Telephone Co.’s directory was produced. In those days, banana boats came through the (lifted) Lefty O’Doul Draw Bridge. Work friends and I would sit along the building’s south side eating our lunches, watching the bananas being loaded ashore.
The directory job taught me proofreading marks. I knew at the time, that the “yellow pages” were produced on the next floor above and small spots of artwork went into some listings. But I never took the elevator up to see what might be possible for my level of art training. Thinking, now, of the whole different direction that my life would have taken, I am glad that my insecurity, held me back.
CITY COLLEGE of SAN FRANCISCO After eleven months at Pac Bell, my mother found a 3 line announcement in one of San Francisco’s newspapers offering a “night, advertising class” at Lincoln High. There, I met William Davis who was about to join the faculty at City College of San Francisco’s advertising curriculum. He convinced me to quit my job and sign-up at CCSF. The wages that I had saved covered the amount that I owed to my parents for the FA lessons, my on-going rent, and the art supplies and books that were needed.
CCSF offered lessons in figure drawing, lettering and type design, graphic design, packaging, art history, slide and film presentation and finally, an introduction to art production and guidance in creating a portfolio to show my work. One of my final art assignments was a packaging concept. Mine was one of three designs that were reported in the college’s newspaper.
(Note : Only as I was scanning this college paper did I, for the first time, read this other story in the paper. Never following sports in those days, I found this, an insight into the early life of Mohammad Ali. Apparently he took in laundry.)
I had a class assignment where the students were to mimic a famous painter to advertise a product. I chose Henri Rousseau. I lost my painted rendering of the product that was placed at the bottom-left of a 2” white panel with just a few copy lines and the Weil logo.
The college had events and art students could donate their art and get a printed sample.
Another lesson learned was that printing on a colored stock, required that the paper had to be lighter than the inks – unless there was the budget to print, in this case, many passes of white and yellow. The impact of my original sketch was lost, but I did get a printed sample for my portfolio. The lettering class taught all aspects of type and how to “comp it” in a layout.
The figure drawing class was my favorite. Besides drawing with charcoal, conté crayon and pencil this was my first time using a Flo-master pen. The trick was to keep the nib fairly dry.
ACADEMY OF ART In 1961, CCSF awarded me a (June-July) summer scholarship at the Academy of Art on Sutter Street (then, its only location) with classes in fashion, oil painting, figure drawing and on-location sketching. One location was Telegraph Hill and the instructor was Richard “Pappy” Stevens, the school’s “founding father”. The three sketches below are from one morning’s class. Then, near noon, our class would retire to a coffee shop (where Scoma’s now stands) and “Pappy” would “hold court”. I have no other samples from the summer classes. The value then, of the summer scholarship, was $150.
IMAGINATION, INC. Several of Mr. Davis’s students and I had a chance to work part-time as an cell-painters for Imagination, Inc.’s animated commercial for Chevron. The location was on Kearney Street and it was exciting to have an art job and arrive early to work. Also there was a temporary job with an animator, Milt Kerr, who had rented space in Gabriel Moulin Studio on Second Street.
FIRST INTERVIEWS I had graduated from CCSF. This was when I began looking for work in advertising art. It was June of 1963 and I was twenty-one. Was I an illustrator, a graphic designer ? Did I have a creative talent in advertising for an ad agency – to create slogans, create layouts ? Should I interview with ad agencies or art studios ? I tried both.
The large black portfolio that I carried as I searched for work consisted of samples of my efforts rendered in oil paint, watercolor and gouache, ink, graphite pencil and pastels (chalks). It was difficult rendering sharp edges with pastels. At that time, felt-tip color markers did not exist in a large range of colors. The first Magic Markers were uncomfortable – a small bottle with a felt-tip and metal cap.
(In the column at the left, is a “favorite site”: Lou Brooks Museum of Forgotten Art Supplies.)
The collection below shows the usual black portfolio, a storyboard and three ad concept samples. There were also 17 additional subjects from which I would choose a small selection that would be of certain interest to an ad agency – concepts, copy, and layout styles for an ad agency – or items that were more illustrative directed toward an art studio job.
I made very many appointments. The top art directors and artists, in those days, would give a personal interview and offer a critique of a student’s portfolio. A few that viewed my portfolio were : Herb Briggs, Sam Hollis, Tom Gleason (ad agencies)– and Richard Evans and Lowell Herrero (art studios). Given allowance for being young and a student, everyone was very kind, but I didn’t find employment.
WELLS FARGO BANK Then in September of 1963, with a reference from my sister and her friends, I became first a clerk and then a stop-payment clerk for Wells Fargo Bank on Grant and Market Streets. In my off hours, I kept clipping reference and styles for the “morgue” (a scrap file) that was suggested in the FA instructions – and I kept practicing art styles. I wasn’t very disappointed being at the bank, because I was improving my skills at home and I still made contacts with professionals.
LAST INTERVIEW After four months at the bank, again Bill Davis nudged me into a step that put me on the best path for my future. Butte, Herrero & Hyde at 722 Montgomery Street (where I had interviewed previously) had employed two artists, Chuck Wertman and Mike Bull, who had decided to free-lance. I showed my portfolio, but BH&H needed studio skills from me – which was all that I needed to learn to run a successful studio. (I never presented my portfolio again.) A year later when I was 22, BH&H dissolved their partnership and I started my self-employment at 728 Montgomery Street, renting space from Bill Hyde. I was able to be an illustrator and an art director, both !
GOOD TIMING AND BAD In my search for employment there was one big lesson : timing.
When I had to step off-track from my ambitious goal, taking other employment–
I kept growing by improving my skills and most importantly, I stayed open to the suggestions from others ; my aunt (Pac Tel), my mother (the Lincoln High night class), Bill Davis (CCSF), my sister and friends (WFB), Bill Davis, again (BH&H) and Butte, Herrero & Hyde supporting me into self-employment.
Each choice I made took me in a new direction. Whether it is a “fork in the road” or the “up- button in an elevator”, a person’s life will change. If you know a young student in need of a suggestion, if you see or know something, say something.
Like my mother, I still clip opportunities from the newspaper and now, also, from the web.